Vasily Zasipkin

Vasily Adrianovich Zasipkin (1886–1941)

Василий Адрианович ЗАСЫПКИН (1886–1941). Русский текст – внизу страницы

Artist, interior decorator

Vasily Zasipkin was born in Ufa on December 25, 1886, and died in Singapore on March 14, 1941.

Zasipkin graduated from the Moscow School of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture. In 1917 he was drafted into the army and sent to Vladivostok where designed sets for the military theatre and the cabaret Bi Ba Bo. From there he moved to Harbin, where in 1920 the Japanese government commissioned him to paint a series of landscapes of Kamchatka and Manchuria. Zasipkin's studio was on Kitaiskaya Street.

In 1929, he came to Shanghai and opened V. A. Zasipkin's Art Studio; in 1934, it moved to the Joffre Arcade, where many Russian businesses and stores were located. Zasipkin was a commercial portrait artist: he created over 25 portraits of Shanghai's foreign elite, consuls and municipal administrators. His oils and pastels were frequently exhibited in Shanghai and later Singapore. Some critics claimed, however, that his works were "old stereotyped canvasses," showing "meticulous study and sound technique," but "lacking virility and imagination" and infused with "commercial, almost illustrative atmosphere." Yet among the Russians he was considered one of the best in Shanghai, alongside M. A. Kitchiguin and V. S. Podgoursky. Vladimir Tretchikoff, later of the pop-art fame, and A. J. Yaron's son Alexander were Zasipkin's students.

By Zasipkin's own statement, he was commissioned to design the interior decoration for the Grand Theatre and Park Hotel in Shanghai as well as "quite a number of interiors for private homes and public buildings." He said he was "engaged by L. E. Hudec, well-known Shanghai architect, to make up architectural drawings of the various buildings designed by Mr. Hudec." He also worked on advertising campaigns and designed stage sets for the productions of the Russian Light Opera, such as Lysistrata and the Dream of Wei Lien, in the Lyceum Theatre.

On the brink of the Japanese attack in August 1937, Zasipkin transferred his studio from the French Concession to Wayside, where it was destroyed in the air raids, together with the bulk of the artist's work. In October, Zasipkin relocated to Singapore where he promptly opened the Apollo School of Art, at the Amber Mansions on Orchard Road, and started offering classes in painting, modeling, drawing and sculpture for beginners and advanced students.

Zasipkin's arrival, evidently, filled the gap felt at the time by the Singapore's foreign community. In November 1937, he helped revive the long-obsolete Art Club, which started to meet again, on Wednesdays, for life drawing sessions and lectures from visiting artists. The weekly "Zasipkin's Russian Parties" were also popular: there pelmeni (meat dumplings), borscht and vodka were "served up in disconcerting quantities."

The artist's most important project in Singapore was the interior design of the Cathay Cinema, Café and Roof Garden, which opened in December 1939 after two years of construction. The architect of the eleven-floor apartment building and entertainment complex was the British Frank W. Brewer, from Singapore. Shanghai's W. W. Wagstaff was brought to supervise the moulding of the frescoed walls and ceilings.

Zasipkin's interior design solution for the complex – "a modern adaptation of the classical style, with soft, quiet elegance" – was praised for its simplicity and artistry. In the Cathay Café, "A carved freeze in flower and leaf design ornaments the walls just below the ceiling, and the same motif is introduced into the three-tiered pillar tops, from which indirect lights cast a soft glow up to the ceiling." The color scheme consisted of various shades of beige and black.

The orchestra shell had "only three or four shades of variation to enhance the lighting effects, which will be sunlight, blue and red." The shell was carried out in two shades of pink, "which are most effective," and lighted from behind. The pink palette and diffuse lighting were meant to be "flattering to the complexion and soothing to the eyes," while the white and black mirrored pillars around the dance floor made the dancing exciting.

Around 1938, Zasipkin, reportedly, received a commission for a cinema complex in Malacca.

Two years after his departure from Shanghai, Zasipkin declared he was "delighted at his life" in Singapore and only "missed the Russian winters." He died at the age of 55 from a heart failure, which struck him as he was teaching his class. He was buried at the Bidadari Cemetery. Zasipkin's Art Studio was taken over by his colleague Vadim Shilonosoff, also from Shanghai; the meetings of the Art Club continued too.

Ad for V. A. Zasikin's Art Studio, at Joffre Arcade, 542 Avenue Joffre. Parus
Portrait of V. A. Zasipkin by his student Vladimir Tretchikoff, 1934. Projector
Paintings of apostles in twelve niches under the dome of St. Nicholas Church, Rue Corneille. Russians in Shanghai
Drawing of the Grand Theatre, architect – L. E. Hudec, 1931. Authorship unconfirmed
Interior of the Grand Theatre c. 1933
Drawing of the Park Hotel (I. S. S. Building), architect – L. E. Hudec. Authorship of the drawing unconfirmed. University of Victoria
Restaurant at the Park Hotel, 1934. University of Victoria
V. A. Zasipkin's self-portrait, 1938. Diamond Jubilee of the International Settlement
Announcement of Zasipkin's exhibition at the YMCA, in June 1938, in Singapore. NewspaperSG
One of Zasipkin's paintings. Ebay
Lyceum Theatre showing Lysistrata, one of the shows with Zasipkin's set design, in 1937. Harrison Forman
Cathay Cinema and residences, Singapore. Ebay
Artist's impression of the Cathay Café (Singapore), 1939. NewspaperSG
Life drawing session at Zasipkin's Art Studio (after his death) during the meeting of the Art Club, 1941. NewspaperSG

List of known works by V. A. Zasipkin

  • Twelve apostles under the dome of St. Nicholas Orthodox Church, Rue Corneille (1934) – the frescoes have not survived
  • Interior design, Grand Theatre, 216 Bubbling Well Road (1933), architect L. E. Hudec
  • Interior design, Park Hotel, 164 Bubbling Well Road (1934), architect L. E. Hudec
  • Cathay Cinema, Café and Roof Garden, 2 Handy Road, Singapore (1939) – the interior has not survived the recent refurbishment

Василий Адрианович Засыпкин (1886–1941) – НАЖМИТЕ, ЧТОБЫ ПРОЧИТАТЬ

Биография с сайта "Архитектура и искусство русского зарубежья":

25 декабря 1886 (Уфа) – апрель 1941 (Сингапур). Живописец, декоратор, архитектор.

После окончания Уфимской гимназии поступил в МУЖВЗ. Работал в должности помощника архитектора на постройке Аксаковского дома в Уфе. С началом Первой мировой войны был призван на воинскую службу, в 1917 командирован во Владивосток, где работал художником-декоратором в военно-передвижном театре Е. М. Долина и в кабаре “Би-ба-бо”.

Из Владивостока эмигрировал в Харбин. Основал художественную студию, писал портреты, выполнял декорации и росписи в Железнодорожном Собрании, Харбинском Коммерческом Собрании.

В конце 1929 переехал в Шанхай, где также открыл студию, в которой проводились групповые и индивидуальные занятия по рисунку, живописи и архитектуре. Получил известность как портретист. Написал более 25 портретов консулов и других членов дипломатического корпуса, а также портреты русских и иностранных общественных деятелей. Работал в иностранных рекламных кампаниях. Летнее время проводил в Циндао и Пейтахо, откуда привозил массу этюдов. Принимал участие в росписи Храма-памятника свт Николая Чудотворца.

Участник выставки 7 художников (июнь 1931), с 1931 – выставок Арт-клуба. В декабре 1934 провел персональную выставку в помещении Русского технического общества в Шанхае. Среди 50 его работ были картины маслом “Первый сеанс” и “Шаланды”, серия портретов (Стеллы Дафф, Т. Густовой и др.), пейзажи, жанровые картины с изображением буддийских храмов у скал священного острова Путу, сцен из жизни китайцев.

С 1937 жил в Сингапуре, там тоже держал свою художественную студию. В 1938 получил заказ на разработку проекта художественной отделки интерьеров нового кинотеатра “Катей”, а также заказ на проектирование и строительство кинотеатра в Малакке. Писал этюды в Сингапуре и его окрестностях, создавал портреты.

Две работы ("Джонка в море" и этюд "Портрет китайца") были воспроизведены в книге "Бриллиантовый юбилей международного сеттльмента Шанхая" (1940). В книге имеется графический портрет художника.

Биография из книги А. Хисамутдинова "Толстые литературные журналы в Китае":

Окончил Московское училище живописи, ваяния и зодчества. Помощник архитектора при строительстве Аксаковского дома в Уфе. В 1917 г. командирован Военным министерством во Владивосток. Работал в военно‑передвижном театре Е.М. Долина, художник в кабаре «Би‑ба‑бо». Художник-декоратор театра графа Зубова и Варшавского в Харбине (с 1921) и основатель художественной студии (до 52 чел.). Открыл студию в Шанхае (с дек. 1929). Член содружества «Понедельник» и член правления «Восток». Считался лучшим портретистом в Китае, создал много портретов китайских деятелей. В 1937 г. сгорела студия со всеми картинами. Получив приглашение в Сингапур, занимался оформительскими работами. «В.А. много работал для театра и всегда был близок очень к богеме, ко всяким артистическим начинаниям и постановкам. Он прославился во время знаменитого Воткинского бала в Харбине в 1923 году, когда создал из одного из фойе Железнодорожного собрания сказочный уголок Востока. Управляющий КВЖД был так восхищен работой В.А., что распорядился так и оставить это фойе (на втором этаже) В.А. был по преимуществу портретистом, но одинаково привлекали его и жанр и пейзаж. Он работал одинаково хорошо и маслом и акварелью, и карандашом, приближаясь по стилю своей работы к художнику Коровину. Известен Засыпкин и как удивительный декоратор. Его работами на сцене восхищался весь Дальний Восток» (Источник: "В Сингапуре умер художник В.А. Засыпкин" (некролог) Новая заря. 1941. 29 апр.).

Also:

  • "Архитектура и искусство русского зарубежья"
  • В. Д. Жиганов, "Русские в Шанхае" (1936)
  • North-China Daily News, Sunday Tribune (Singapore), Morning Tribune (Singapore), Singapore Free Press and Mercantile Advertiser
  • Kounin, Yaron, The Diamond Jubilee of the International Settlement of Shanghai (1940)
  • Boris Gorelik, Incredible Tretchikoff: Life of an Artist and Adventurer